Preparations are in full swing throughout Downriver for
the July 8 inaugural Cruisin’ Downriver car cruise.
The cruise, which will become an annual event, will run
from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. down Fort Street between Southfield and Sibley
The route goes through the cities of Lincoln Park,
Southgate, Riverview and Wyandotte. There will be no registration to
participate, and there are plenty of events being planned along the route
for participants to stop and swap stories, buy memorabilia and food and
take in some entertainment.
"Cruisin’ Downriver is going to be kind of a
spine for the region and we look to all of the communities to give it a
body, with events centered around the cruise," said Edward Clemente,
president of the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, which is
helping coordinate the event with The News-Herald Newspapers.
"I think this is going to be a great success, it
will be a Downriver homecoming," Clemente said. "We’re urging
people here to invite friends and family back Downriver for a
"We’ve been working with the chamber, Wayne
County, the state, car clubs and the communities to make sure this is a
great communitywide event and a great success," said Donald Thurlow,
publisher of The News-Herald/Heritage Sunday Newspapers.
"I think the homecoming theme is very appropriate
for Cruisin’ Downriver," Thurlow added. "We’re looking
forward to a Downriverwide event to bring all of our communities
Timothy Durand, mayor of Riverview, said his community
has already booked a band at the Riverview Public Library at Sibley near Fort for
July 7, the night before Cruisin’ Downriver.
"We’re trying to kick the event off Friday with
the concert incorporating the Teen Angels and maybe with a car club
setting up a display," Durand said. "I’m really looking
forward to it. I think it’s a natural for Downriver; it brings a lot of
these informal (cruise) gatherings into one weekend."
Durand said several other events are in the planning
Lincoln Park will set up a ’50s band at its band
shell, Mayor Craig Sochocki said, and the city is trying to get a midway
set up at Fort and Southfield.
"We’re putting the word out to all of the
churches and community groups to plan events around Cruisin’
Downriver," the mayor said. "I think it’s going to be great
for the communities Downriver and great for our businesses."
Southgate’s Special Events Commission has already
met, said Mayor Sue Hall, and is changing the dates of some previously
planned events to coincide with the cruise.
"We’re changing events already and our intention
is to have tents along the route and invite community groups to come in
and do different things, like face painting and entertainment," Hall
said. "We will just have a great time, a big party.
"It gives Downriver a chance to shine, a chance to
improve our image," she said. "We’re excited."
Lawrence Stec, mayor of Wyandotte, said his community
development director is already hard at work and is planning several
events around Cruisin’ Downriver.
"We’re looking forward to having it," Stec
said. "It sounds exciting; I’ll see you there."
State Rep. William O’Neil (D-Allen Park) said the
event will be good for the entire area, not just those communities the
cruise goes through. He said he expects every community Downriver to plan
something around that weekend.
The Trenton Mid-Summer Festival is the same weekend as
the cruise, and it will tie it into the cruise, beckoning cruisers to head to
the festival in downtown Trenton when they need a break from the action.
"I’m thrilled. When I read it, I thought, ‘How cool,’ " O’Neil said. "This
is really a good way to promote Downriver. This is huge."
Dana DeCoster, publisher of Sterling Heights-based
Cruis’News, which has a statewide circulation of about 6,000, said he’s
been waiting to hear something from Downriver.
"I’m sure it’s going to be a phenomenal
success. It’s long overdue," DeCoster said. "There are so many
hot rodders and custom guys Downriver, it’s got to be a success; it will
Business Editor Gary Gosselin can be reached by
e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 1-734-246-0861.